Drakensberg

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Drakensberg
 
 
 
 

The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is one of KwaZulu-Natal’s two World Heritage Sites. This world heritage site is part of a much larger mountain range that stretches some 1 600 kilometres from South Africa’s northernmost provinces to the Eastern Cape. Not only does the World Heritage Site protect a stunning natural mountain wilderness area, it also protects an amazing cultural legacy of ancient rock art in Africa painted by Southern Africa’s earliest inhabitants, the San Bushmen.


The uKhahlamba-Drakensberg World Heritage Site is also part of a larger collaborative conservation initiative between South Africa and the neighbouring Kingdom of Lesotho called ‘The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation and Development Project’.


The Zulu people named the 300 kilometres section of mountain range bordering KwaZulu-Natal and the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho 'uKhahlamba’, meaning ‘Barrier of Spears’. The early Dutch settlers called them the Drakensberg or 'Dragon Mountains'. Nowadays, this lovely natural wonderland is referred to by locals simply as ‘the ’Berg’.


Generally, the ‘Berg is divided into roughly five regions with many small towns in the foothills; Bergville and the Northern Drakensberg; Winterton and the Central Drakensberg; Himeville, Underberg and the Southern Drakensberg and then East Griqualand and uMzimkhulu.


One of the world’s most famous choir schools, The Drakensberg Boys Choir is based in the central ‘berg area and it possible to attend one of their regular concerts. Other activities include white water rafting, helicopter flips, visiting vulture restaurants and the Falcon Ridge Birds of Prey Centre in Champaign Valley are also popular. Stop at Thokozisa Mountain café and Indigenous nursery in the central berg for lunch and browse the art and craft shops showcasing local handiwork.


In the park itself, hiking along the footpaths through the mountains, camping in caves or stopping to picnic and taking a dip into the rock pools with tumbling streams and cascading waterfalls are just some of the great pleasures of a visit to the beautiful uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. Another is day trekking to explore caves and overhangs containing some of the more than 22 000 individually painted rock art images by the San people who once inhabited these shelters.


This is definitely a place for photographers. The morning mists swirl around the dramatic mountain peaks and through the cool yellowwood forests. In summer dramatic mountain storms crash around the mountain peaks and in winter, the snow-capped heights are a site to enjoy from the cosiness of your mountain chalet fireside. It is wonderful to just sit and take in the views of herds of eland, and other smaller antelope making their way across the sandstone-flanked valleys. Baboons bark in the distance and black eagles and bearded vultures soar between the towering basalt cliffs. Abseiling, rock climbing and ice climbing in winter, are also popular.



If you would like to receive a brochure on the Drakensberg of KwaZulu-Natal, please send an email requesting one to info@zulu.org.za.
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Email :cdta@futurenet.co.za
Enquiry Email :cdta@futurenet.co.za
Enquiry Fax :036 488 1846
Tel 1 :036 488 1207
Tel 2 :036 488 1273
Fax :036 488 1846
 
Bergville & the Northern Drakensberg
Best known of all the Berg sectors is arguably the northernmost Royal Natal National Park and adjacent summit area, its regal prefix bestowed after the 1947 visit of Britain's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Blessed with some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Africa, Royal Natal's backdrop is the world-famous, much photographed and painted Amphitheatre - a crescent of 1 000m sheer basalt cliffs in the Northern Drakensberg. This massive wall stretches 4 kilometres between the Sentinel (3 165m)and Eastern Buttress (3 047m) , with a number of domes rising from its relatively flat summit plateau. In 1836, the French missionaries Arbousset and Daumas named the largest of these domes Mont-aux-Sources - a literal description of this source of five rivers in the Northern Drakensberg.


East Griqualand
Griqua, Kokstad, Matatiele, Swartberg and Mount Currie are some of the terms associated with this fascinating gateway region to the province of KwaZulu-Natal or the Zulu Kingdom. East Griqualand - wide, open spaces and lofty peaks urge the resourceful traveller to 'go where no visitor has gone before' - it's still that kind of place!


Himeville, Underberg & the Southern Drakensberg
The twin villages of Himeville and Underberglead to Sani Pass, and is the southernmost sector of the World Heritage Site, the, Mzimkhulu Wilderness Area. Here in the Southern Drakensberg the basalt rock-faces are not as high as further north, but the escarpment buttresses and peaks are exaggerated by low-lying valleys between them. Most
prominent of these peaks in the Southern Drakensberg are The Rhino - a relatively easy walk but also offering several challenging rock climbs...
Umzimkhulu
A delightful town on the Mzimkhulu River, Umzimkhulu offers insights into the pleasures of the area.
Winterton & the Central Drakensberg
Approaching the Central Drakensberg sees Estcourt and Mooi River added to the list of access towns each with its own character, charm and local attractions. The gateway to the Central Drakensberg is the little town of Winterton. Essentially a farming town, Winterton is filled with churches, B&Bs, plane trees and tiny shops.